Promise or Performance?

Looking at our dining room table most days, you might think we were running a cartoon factory out of our house. Drawings. Everywhere. When a small child presents you with some artwork, it’s heart warming. They love you, they thought of you, it provoked them to create, and then they present you with their work. All their effort is because they love you, not because they need to leverage you. Imagine though, if a cruel teacher went into your child’s classroom and began teaching the class that their artwork was actually securing… Read More

Toxic Cocktail: mixing law & gospel

In the same way that putting arsenic into a drink turns a cocktail from being refreshing to toxic, the false teachers in Galatia mixed God’s law with God’s gospel in a misguided effort to ‘balance’ out the grace Paul was preaching. Paul was preaching that salvation was by grace and faith in Christ alone, so the religious leaders came in and changed the message to “one part grace, one part law.“ When Paul heard about the toxic, glawspel cocktail being served to the church in Galatia, his love for them provoked a passionate, fiery response. The tone… Read More

Exile, Homecoming & Grace

Many of us have had to navigate conversations regarding the refugee crisis. How the Christian is to relate to the poor, the outcast and the refugee is not something that is framed by our political leaning, but the ramifications of our belief in the gospel, regardless of our political leaning. If Christ’s life, death, resurrection and ascension are true, then the gospel offers us an eternal perspective that informs how we relate to the issues of the world around us. Christian generosity flows from the belief in eternity. Christ has saved us in… Read More

Here we are now. Entertain us.

Do you remember way back in May 2007, Charlie and his brother Harry were sitting on a chair when Charlie bit Harry’s finger? The little guys broke the internet. Do you remember the double rainbow of 2010? Here we are now – entertain us. ~ Kurt Cobain Like myself, you probably laughed at Charlie, the double rainbow and the innumerable amount of funny videos that went viral since. Needless to say, these two videos are old news and the next big thing is being uploaded as I type this. We love the next… Read More

Grace from A-Z

Susan and I were at a function a few months ago and introductions were happening around the table. Getting asked what I do for a living is always an interesting conversation starter. So when the question came to me, I told everyone I was a presbyterian minister and the guy sitting next to me got really excited. He said, “Oh good!” and then he proceeded to share, with refreshing honesty, his disgust and frustrations with the church. It was really interesting to hear his thoughts and the experiences he had that caused him to… Read More

The Clumping Church

Imagine you walk into a room and a conversation has been going for some time. You listen to a sentence, maybe two, and then you interject your thoughts on the matter. The odds of you saying something out of context is extremely high. It’s not that hard for me to imagine because I have this nasty habit of making assumptions and I’ve done that more often than I’d care to admit. For much of my Christian life, Ephesians 5:1 was a verse gave rise to feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Reading the words “Therefore be imitators of… Read More

The Anatomy of the Prosperity ‘gospel’

We need the grace of God to deal with the life & death stuff. The heartbreak of broken relationships, the devastation of disease, the anxiety of economic hardship, the pain of abuse, the sorrow of death … thank God, the hope of the gospel in Christ is big enough for the life and death stuff. Though this world is broken because we are sinful, God will restore it because He is gracious. We live life in between the “already” of what Christ accomplished at the cross and the “not yet” of what He will accomplish with His return. We… Read More

Ruined.

I was in Ethiopia a few years back and I had the incredible privilege of preaching in some churches. After one of the services, I was asked if I wanted some coffee. I looked down and saw a small, badly stained pot and some tools I didn’t recognize, sitting next to a tiny fire. I agreed to have a cup, so one of the ladies went and picked some coffee beans off of one of the plants growing beside the church and began to roast them. Soon I was holding a small cup… Read More

The terrible search

This past week at the Golden Globes, Jim Carrey took to the stage to present the award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Though his short, humorous speech got a lot of people laughing, I don’t doubt that the poignancy of his words also got a lot of people thinking… “I’m two time Golden Globe winner Jim Carrey …and when I dream, I don’t just dream any old dream. No sir. I dream about being three time Golden Globe winner, Jim Carrey … because then I would be enough. It would… Read More

Blurred

Written by Susan Dunk A few nights ago I was cozy in bed reading “The Story of God’s Love” by Sally Lloyd Jones (a stellar book) to my nine year old son. The story was Noah and the Ark. I was reading the story with my usual gusto when Nijel stopped me with tears in his eyes. He said, “Mommy, if God destroyed the whole earth with a flood that means He killed children.” I saw his distraught face and I panicked. My first thought was, “Where is your seminary trained father right… Read More

Identity & Reinvention

On Predestination

In one of our  TheoPub events, the question came up about predestination. What is it? Does God’s sovereignty erase man’s responsibility? Does man have free will? My aim in this article is not to attempt to comprehensively explain predestination because the apostles themselves never did. They did however, explicitly talk about it. My goal here is to look at the reasons why the apostles used words like “predestined for adoption” and “chosen” to show that they were meant to provoke the church into joyful celebration – not create nervous confusion. Given the… Read More

I lost my religion in South Sudan

When Jesus instituted the gathering of the church He was clear about our purpose, and it’s shockingly simple. He and His friends gathered around bread and wine, and He said that every time they gathered they were to reflect on His gift of grace, take those sacraments and remember Him. “THIS do” He said. The church is a living, breathing, organism. The apostles appointed elders & deacons to organize the organism so that sound gospel doctrine could be preserved and the church could care for one another in times of affliction and persecution. The… Read More

Everything is not awesome

Getting ready for church is an exhausting exercise for a lot of people. By getting ready, I don’t mean making wardrobe decisions. I mean the exhausting exercise of putting on the everything-is-awesome face. You know your life, your pain. your suffering, your fears and your sin better than anyone. You know everything isn’t awesome. The idea of going to church makes you nauseous because instead of crumpling into a ball, confessing weakness and finding grace, you feel pressured to confess awesomeness where you only find further exhaustion. God’s word encourages the church to “weep with those who… Read More